Can Do

Meet Simple Living’s Can Chung

Simple Living was established tin 2002 as one-stop furniture and interior design boutique. Mixing East and West, the shop’s home furnishings are a combination of modern and traditional designs, but one thing they have in common with the interiors it designs is simplicity. Square Foot talks with New York-trained design director Can Chung.

Tell us about your studio. Why did you start it and what do you specialise in, if anything in particular?
We produce and manufacture our own domestic furnishings and always focus on quality, ensuring materials and production techniques are of high standard every time. I had been looking for ways to expand the business since the early-’90s, spreading the retail arm. I like the role of Design Consultant, as this gives me the chance to be more flexible with different design ideas, and I can battle to get more space to play around with. I also hope to design furnishings specifically for the elderly and the young, and integrate more social awareness into Simple Living.

How do you incorporate your furniture design with interiors?
Furniture design should always move with the times, whether that’s in a home or a shop or an office. It should never stay with a single style. Hongkongers tend to live under a lot of pressure, so a family home should be a retreat of calm; a peaceful and yet dynamic environment. I don’t encourage the use of loud overstated furnishings. Busy elements can bring on feelings of claustrophobia. If a room is not balanced or perfectly matched it will look wrong.

What are some of the challenges in working in Hong Kong spaces?
I have worked on spatial planning projects for buildings, homes, shops and other design projects, and I feel that the design industry is extensively challenging. Many clients have different ideas and it is up to interior designers to satisfy and make these ideas a reality, even if these ideas may seem far-fetched and difficult to achieve.

Is there an advantage to making your own furniture?
Since I am skilled at sketching conceptual layouts and furniture plans, I can cope quite well with the pace of factory production, and this means the final finished product will almost always reflect the essence of the original design diagram.

Ultimately what do you see as your job as a designer?
To be a successful designer, good communication skills are always important. When visitors come to the shop, I will try and understand their preferences and needs by looking into their eyes and establishing good communication. Patience and observation are essential. I always try and offer different proposals by observing and analysing behaviour. The idea is to find an ideal style suited to them and provide a home a client desires.